[image, right: footage from a Carry the Cure presentation exhorts listeners to "fight for revolution!"]
In the year 2000, Wasilla, Alaska mayor Sarah Palin joined the advisory board of Carry the Cure, Inc., a 501(c)(3) suicide-prevention nonprofit which has received tax-exempt public and private funds for running suicide prevention programs in schools and churches but has declared, on its 2000 to 2006 federal tax returns, its organizational mission to be "Religious - Evangelism."
Both William Pagaran, Carry the Cure's current president, and Pat Donelson, its cofounder and former president, are licensed ministers through Northwind Global Ministries, which Donelson currently directs. Northwind promotes "Joel's Army" doctrine, that an end-time army of young Christians endowed with supernatural powers will conquer and purify the Earth.
Northwind Global Ministries is closely linked to a fast growing, anti-denominational movement within Christianity, highly controversial among Christian conservatives, known as the New Apostolic Reformation, which characterizes the Catholic Church, all Protestant Christian denominations, and competing religious and philosophical belief systems as invalid and under demonic influence.
The Northwind Global Ministries web site depicts Carry the Cure, Inc. as a subsidiary, or affiliate, as part of Northwind's "apostolic teams" ministry effort. Among sample video clips, posted on the organization's web site, of the music-based anti-suicide program Carry the Cure presents in schools and churches, one clip shows Carry the Cure musicians playing, for a public school audience, a rock song with the lyrics, "take me and my generation, we will fight for revolution."
In early 2008, while still listed on Carry the Cure's advisory board, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin appointed Patrick Donelson, listed on Carry the Cure's available tax records as Carry the Cure President up through 2006, to a four year position on the Alaska State Suicide Prevention Council, a position which would allow him to make recommendations on how Alaska State suicide prevention grant money is used.
A December 26th, 2007, announcement from the office of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin noting the appointment cited, among his qualifications for being on the Alaska State Suicide Prevention Council, Rev. Pat Donelson's "extensive experience" of eight years of "work in drug, alcohol and suicide prevention" as cofounder and president of Carry the Cure, Inc.
Faith Based Mental Health Care
[image, right, from Northwind website: all believing Christians have the power to raise the dead, heal the sick, cleanse lepers and caste out demons.]
Donelson, a former youth director for the Alaska District Assemblies of God who also works as a fishing guide, is a founding member and the current director of Northwind Global Ministries and ran its school of ministry from 2000 to 2006. Northwind's web site states that Christian believers have miraculous powers for healing, cleansing lepers, casting out demons, and raising the dead. Although Donelson is officially an Assemblies of God minister, many of the doctrines he has promoted through Northwind Global Ministries were denounced in 2000, by the General Council of the Assemblies of God, as "deviant practices" in "Endtime Revival-Spirit-Led and Spirit-Controlled, A Response Paper to Resolution 16."
On its tax forms since 2003, Carry the Cure has described its suicide prevention programs as providing "Religion related - Spiritual development." As currently stated on its web site, Carry the Cure holds that "Jesus and His church are the greatest resources for people who are hopeless, depressed, desperate or in need and that no safety net is complete without them."
From 1991 to 2004, Alaska had the highest suicide rate of any state in the US. While Alaska's suicide rate dipped slightly in 2005, so that Alaska had only the 3rd highest suicide rate of all US states, its suicide rate has not changed significantly overall since 1995, as detailed in a February 2007 report on suicide in Alaska prepared for the Suicide Prevention Council and other relevant state agencies.
Under Pat Donelson's leadership, Northwind Global Ministries has promoted controversial evangelist Todd Bentley, whose violent rhetoric defines one of the most extreme, militant tendency in the New Apostolic Reformation; "Joel's Army" theology prophesies that an end-time, last-generation army of young Christians endowed with supernatural powers will cleanse the Earth of evil and establish Christian dominion.
Todd Bentley is the subject of a Fall 2008 Southern Poverty Law Center story, Arming For Armageddon by researcher Casey Sanchez. As shown in the 2006 academy award-nominated video documentary by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, Jesus Camp, some Christians who hold such views are actively indoctrinating their children with the belief that they will become soldiers in that end-time army.
Carry the Cure was founded in 1996, as described on its website, by Pat Donelson and Doug Yates, currently a pastor at the Skyline Foursquare Church in Anchorage Alaska, "in response to Western Alaska's outcry against the epidemic of suicide among Native Teens" to "provide a message of hope through school rallies, mentorship, and education." Carry the Cure also declares, on its web site, that "[t]through innovative, creative, & unique workshops & events, Carry the Cure is dedicated to the eradication of youth suicide and substance abuse."
But Carry the Cure's federal tax statements from 2000 to 2006 stated its mission was "religious evangelizing," and from 2003 onward descriptions on Carry the Cure's IRS 990 EZ tax return forms made even more emphatic that its suicide prevention programs, held in schools and churches, were for "Religion related, Spiritual development."
In an interview published in a February 14, 2008, Anchorage Daily News story concerning his appointment by Sarah Palin to the Suicide Prevention Council, Pat Donelson told reporter Melodie Wright that he "was pleasantly surprised to see the advances at the state level compared to 10 years ago. Back then, it was more throw money at programs, more outcome based. When we received any funding, the constraints were so narrow and the reporting we had to give was so narrowly focused it made it difficult to deal with suicide prevention effectively - that's my opinion."
Donelson also offered his view that the top cause of suicide is "hopelessness." One of the services Carry the Cure, Inc. currently offers, in its capacity as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit is evangelism, which the group holds up as the most effective mental health remedy for hopelessness and depression. As currently stated on Carry the Cure's web site,
"We are committed to building the kingdom of God one heart at a time.
We hold youth rallies and outreaches in hopes of connecting the lost to the church, as well as, equipping the church to connect with the lost. . .
We believe that Jesus and His church are the greatest resources for people who are hopeless, depressed, desperate or in need and that no safety net is complete without them."
Melodie Wright's Anchorage Daily News story described Carry the Cure as "a faith-based nonprofit organization that aims to stem the tide of suicide among teenagers." However, the highest rate of suicide in Alaska, by far, is not among teenagers but young adults from 20 to 29 years old. In any case, by its own description suicide prevention has been a secondary priority for Carry the Cure. A letter of recommendation, written for Carry the Cure and currently posted on its web site, from current Carry the Cure President William Pagaran's pastor Chris Savino, states that "[t]o the best of my knowledge, Carry the Cure takes the life giving message of Jesus Christ to those who do not know it."
On May 31, 2002, then-Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska Sarah Palin wrote, on stationary bearing her official Wasilla mayoral gold seal, a personally addressed, glowing public endorsement, of his organizational effort, for Carry the Cure's Vice President William Pagaran:
"I am pleased to write a letter of support on behalf of your exciting and worthy organization that positively impacts our community by educating and enabling local young people and their families with truth-based skills that can help them overcome problems that could potentially destroy their lives."
[image, right, controversial evangelist Todd Bentley]
The same year in which Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin, then on Carry the Cure's advisory board, wrote her letter endorsing Carry the Cure's work, a group from Pat Donelson's Northwind Global Ministries led a trip to an Oregon conference that was sponsored by Todd Bentley's Fresh Fire Ministries. As a November 23, 2003, letter from Bentley posted on the Northwind home page describes:
"Last November Northwind Global Ministries led a group of 48 youth, young adults, and leaders from Alaska to Albany, Oregon to participate in the first ever Joel's Army conferences sponsored by Fresh Fire Ministries.
It was held at the Albany Vineyard Christian Fellowship and hundreds of people came from all over the United States, Canada, as well as several other nations.
We were compelled to go and be a part of this gathering because for years we have been hearing the prophets tell of a day that will come soon when the Lord will raise up an end time army known as `Joel's Army'. We felt an urgency from the Lord to go and stand in for Alaska and to say to heaven, `Don't pass us by, we want Alaska to be a part of this end time harvest.' "
Carry the Cure boasts a number of enthusiastic recommendations of its school suicide reduction programs, posted on its website, from public school principals who seem to regard Carry the Cure's programs as secular or non-threatening to church-state separation. As Principal Rod D. Pruitt wrote to William Pagaran, February 18, 2002, "While considering your visit I must admit I had concerns regarding First Amendment issues, in that we are a public school; however, your presentation was organized exquisitely to impart to our students the essence of your message without infringing on `separation' protections.
Our kids were delighted by your visit. . . They were as attentive as I have seen them in the year and a half I have been in Akiak."
But, as the head pastor of Wasilla Christian Church, Chris Savino, described his sense of his church member William Pagaran's Carry the Cure organizational mission,
"To the best of my understanding, Carry the Cure takes the life-giving message of Jesus Christ to those who do not know it... [o]f late, an exciting development is that they have been given opportunity to speak in the public schools of the Matanuska-Susitna borough with their "Committed to Life" program."
In 2003, as if its IRS tax form declaration, that religious evangelism was Carry the Cure's organizational mission, had not been not sufficiently emphatic, Carry the Cure tacked on, in front of descriptions of its yearly state-funded suicide prevention program service accomplishments: "Religion related, Spiritual development."
"We Will Fight For Revolution"
[image, right: conference sponsored by Northwind Global Ministries]
Currently Carry the Cure's President and leader of its public school presentations for most of their existence, William Pagaran is a gifted percussionist who has played with the Alaska State Orchestra and provided the dynamic force for Carry the Cure's suicide prevention school programs.
As shown in sample footage from the Carry the Cure website, Pagaran's events can be rhythm driven and fast-paced, featuring audience participation in "Stomp!"-like percussion ensemble drumming, highly competent heavy metal rock, soloist vocal performances, and high-energy pep talks in which Pagaran tells his public school audiences "you have a destiny, there's a plan for your life!"
Beyond its flagship musical extravaganza show, the group also offers schools a range of workshops such as a sexual abstinence training that "helps students to save themselves for their future spouse and keep them safe from teenage pregnancy or STD's." Other workshops include training on warning signs of suicidal behaviors and on conflict resolution. One workshop is "[d]esigned to empower a man to be a real man - one of courage, purity, character, and integrity."
From 1996 to 2003, Carry the Cure's organizational logo featured an interlocked pair of hands. Subsequently, Carry the Cure changed its logo to composite sword/cross. Currently, on the Carry the Cure, Inc. homepage, beneath that new militant logo, text reads:
"Carry The Cure believes in this generation... It's time for the light of truth to invade the darkness. It's time for this generation to rise up and take their rightful place, a place of victory instead of defeat, of hope instead of despair, of purpose instead of emptiness."
As Carry the Cure's website describes the group's "Rhythms of Life" program, `The "Rhythms of Life" school assemblies are designed to encourage students to commit to life. We use this program to build up a students self esteem, bring awareness to the suicide problem, teach them the basics of how they can support others who may be depressed or suicidal.'
Carry the Cure's web site has several video clips from Rhythms of Life presentations and one, described as `live music presentation with a full band expressing lyrics that include the message of "Committing to Life" `, seems represent something very different - a call for violent change.
Alongside William Pagaran's drivingly kinetic drumming, and crunching electric guitar power chords, a pair of voices, male and female, sings in close and urgent harmony:
"I hear the call, the call of destiny. I hear the call, the call that sets me free.
So take me and my generation, we will fight for revolution. Take me and my generation, we will fight for revolution."
[below: screen shots of Northwind Global Ministries web page shows Carry the Cure, Inc. as a subsidiary, or affiliate, of Northwind Global Ministries.]
The Northwind Global Ministries web site lists Carry the Cure as being under its "apostolic teams" effort. As Northwind describes its "apostolic teams" ministry:
`The word apostle literally means "sent one." We know from the scripture that Jesus called His disciples to Him and gave them authority to go and proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom with accompanying miracles and power. The Lord is still calling disciples to Himself and giving them authority to go and do these things and even greater things.
Ministry teams are sent out from NGM on a regular basis. . . to minister in a variety of ways such as preaching, teaching, worship ministry, prayer and intercession, practical helps, and church and house of prayer planting. They also minister in public school assemblies, leadership seminars, and workshops.' The Northwind description indicates these teams may sometimes work miracles.
Carry the Cure's web site page describing one of the services it offers, "Evangelism", states,
"Carry The Cure is sometimes asked to bring all or part of a team to help with evangelism and outreach with local area churches. . .
We are not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). . .
We offer Evangelistic Outreach, Christian Workshops, Youth Rallies, Youth Leadership Training, Worship Workshops, Evangelistic/Soul Winning Training and much, much more..."
See here for the extended version of this story, which cover's Sarah Palin's extensive ties to the controversial New Apostolic Reformation movement.